Israel’s government has accused Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen of hijacking a cargo ship in the Red Sea, posing a threat to global shipping routes. The vessel, owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese firm, had 25 crew members, none of whom were Israeli. The Houthi rebels had previously threatened to target ships carrying the Israeli flag and those operated by or belonging to Israeli companies.
The incident marks a significant escalation in the threat posed by the Houthi rebels against global maritime shipping. The rebel group, based in Yemen, has the ability to stage attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office blamed the attack on the Iranian government, which it said is endangering global shipping lanes. The Houthi rebels are believed to be receiving support from Iran, including training, technical expertise, and increasingly sophisticated weapons.
In response to the incident, Israel’s army stated that the ship’s crew members include individuals from Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Philippines, and Mexico. The vessel was en route from Turkey to India at the time of the attack. Iran has not commented on the incident, and the Israeli government has condemned the seizure of the cargo ship.